Friday, March 14, 2008

Yokohama to hold 'Relieve Africa's Hunger' event

The city of Yokohama will hold a "Relieve Africa's Hunger" campaign to enable residents to make a direct contribution in their local communities. The campaign will run mainly in May, 2008. As the host city of the 4th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV, May 28-30, 2008) and in the context of a rising interest in Africa within Yokohama, the city will provide opportunities that will enable citizens and corporations to make a direct contribution in their immediate communities to achieve support for Africa.
The campaign will feature African dishes that use ingredients from Africa, along with goods that are labeled as providing support to Africa, in food outlets such as restaurants and convenience stores. Those corporations that endorse the appeal will donate a proportion of the proceeds to Africa utilizing the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) school meal program.
Yokohama will also implement "Walk the World for Africa," a walking event aimed at eradicating hunger, "Hamakko-Doshi for Africa," in which a proportion of the receipts from the goods sold by the Yokohama Waterworks Bureau will be donated, "Deliver to Africa! Fund-Raising for a Green Environment," which appeals for donations from residents, and other initiatives.
The funds collected through these events and campaigns will be donated through WFP and JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) for school meals and other support for Africa, providing an opportunity for residents to support Africa.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

University student, girlfriend face charges over false groping claim on subway

Police on Wednesday arrested a student at Konan University and his girlfriend on suspicion of setting up a male passenger with a false groping claim on the subway in February. Police allege that Fumiyuki Makita, 24, and his 31-year-old girlfriend conspired to frame a passenger on the Midosuji subway line in Osaka about 8:30 p.m. on Feb 1.

According to police, the woman yelled at a 58-year-old company employee, accusing him of touching her. Makita then approached the man to "help" the woman. The company employee was taken into custody by station staff and handed over to police. Makita told police he had never met the woman before and said that he had seen the man touching her hips. The man told police he could not have touched her because his hands were in his pocket.

Earlier this week, police said the woman had decided to drop the charges if the man was willing to pay compensation. Upon further questioning, she admitted that the charge was a fabrication and that the man who came to her aid was her boyfriend. She said he had conspired with her to set soneone up on the train so they could get money.

Police are continuing their investigation to see if the couple have done the same thing before to other passengers.

for japanese news in Italian click here

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Hospitals rejected emergency patients in 24,089 cases in 2007

Medical facilities in Japan rejected individual emergency patients in 24,089 cases nationwide last year, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said Tuesday. Of these, 8,618 cases involved patients younger than 15, and 1,084 cases involved pregnant women, according to the agency's first-ever such survey. Rejections of seriously ill patients, meanwhile, accounted for 14,387 cases, the agency said.

According to the survey, children were rejected mostly because no pediatricians worked at the facilities, while treatment difficulties were cited in the rejection of pregnant women and other patients in serious condition. As for patients under 15, 220 emergency transfer cases were rejected more than 10 times in 15 prefectures including Tokyo, Osaka and Saitama, with one case in Tokyo rejected 34 times.

In 16 child transfer cases, patients had to wait more than two hours before finally being hospitalized, according to the agency. In five of the cases, the patients had to wait more than two and a half hours.

In 53 emergency transfer cases involving pregnant women, the patients were rejected more than 10 times, with one patient in Chiba Prefecture rejected 42 times, the agency said.

Other patients in serious condition were rejected more than 10 times in 1,074 cases, it said.

The rejections were seen mainly in large metropolitan areas, such as Tokyo and Osaka.

"Medical facility staff probably think other facilities will accept the emergency patients as there are many institutions there," said one agency official.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

School principal arrested for sending threatening emails to former student

Saitama police on Sunday searched the office of a high school principal and confiscated two computers after he was arrested for allegedly sending threatening messages by email to a former student. The suspect, Kazuo Ichikawa, 56, was arrested during Saturday's graduation ceremony.
Ichikawa began an acquaintance with her around January 2002, when he served as the assistant principal of another high school. She was a student there, according to police.
In March last year, she proposed to end the relationship, and he is suspected of sending more than 10 threatening emails to her between late November and mid-December in order to persuade her to continue their relationship, they said.
He noted in them, "I don't care about what will happen to you. I can kill somebody in cold blood," and in another one stating, "I will expose your private life," according to the police.
He has denied the charges, telling investigators, "I didn't intend to threaten her," according to police.
Police launched an investigation into the case after receiving reports from the woman's family.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Ken Terauchi to take plunge in record fourth Games

Japan's Ken Terauchi will represent his country for a record fourth Olympic Games in Beijing this year, Japanese officials said on Tuesday.
The 27-year-old will become the first Japanese to appear in four consecutive Olympics in aquatic competition when he steps on to the three-metre springboard in August.
Terauchi, whose best Olympic performance to date was fifth place in the platform diving at the 2000 Sydney Games, qualified for the springboard event in Beijing after finishing fourth at last year's world championships.
Mai Nakagawa was selected for the women's platform diving, securing the 20-year-old her first Olympic appearance.

Japan owes London more than 1 mil pounds in fines, road charges

The Japanese Embassy in London has racked up more than 1 million pounds worth of unpaid road charges and penalty fines in a diplomatic dispute with city chiefs. Transport for London, the body which controls the capital's public transportation network, revealed recently that the embassy owes it a total of 1,003,300 pounds (approximately $2 million).
The embassy is refusing to pay the central London "charge" because it believes that it is, in fact, a tax which diplomats are immune from paying under the 1961 Vienna Convention which governs diplomatic relations. Several other missions have also stopped paying the 8 pounds daily congestion charge when they enter and drive in central London.
The biggest debtor is the United States which owes over 2 million pounds and Japan is currently in second place. More than 10 million pounds is owed by 20 embassies, according to Transport for London. A spokesman for the Japanese Embassy in London said the Japanese government had assessed the relevant laws in August 2006 and came to the conclusion its diplomatic staff should not pay. This is because they could not see that a specific service was being provided by the charge and that it is merely another tax, to which diplomats and their families are exempt.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Today is Hina Matsuri

The Hina Matsuri or Doll Festival or Girl's Festival is celebrated on March 3. On this day, families with girls wish their daughters a successful and happy life. Dolls are displayed in the house together with peach blossoms. The doll festival has its origin in a Chinese custom in which bad fortune is transferred to dolls and then removed by abandoning the doll on a river. On Hina Matsuri, sweet sake is drunken and chirashi sushi is eaten.

Osaki out to earn ticket to Beijing

Satoshi Osaki certainly sympathizes with Arata Fujiwara. But when it comes to making the Olympic team, all's fair in love and marathons.
Four years after being passed over for an Olympic spot, Osaki will attempt to earn a place on Japan's team to Beijing with a strong showing at today's Lake Biwa Marathon.

"Getting a ticket to Beijing is the main objective," Osaki said a press conference here Saturday for the last of the three domestic qualifiers for Japanese runners. "To get that, I'm not thinking about the time. I'm looking to win, or at worst be the top Japanese."
Among those expected to press Osaki, the 2006 Asian Games bronze medalist, for the top spot among the Japanese will be Tomoyuki Sato and Kensuke Takahashi, along with general-entry runners Kenji Noguchi, Takashi Horiguchi, Masakazu Fujiwara and Ryoji Matsushita.
While winning the race would all but clinch an Olympic berth, that might be too tall a task for this group.
One of the strongest foreign contingents in years includes Kenyan-born Qatari Mubarak Hassan Shami and Eritrea's Yared Asmeron, the silver medalist and fourth-place finishers from last summer's IAAF world championships in Osaka, respectively.
The Osaka race has been Shami's lone loss in six career marathons that includes the 2006 Asiad. He ran a career-best 2 hours 7 minutes 19 seconds in winning Paris last year and said he was aiming for a time in the 2:06s "if the weather conditions are good."
Spain's Jose Rios, a former two-time Lake Biwa winner, and 2005 Fukuoka Marathon champion Dmytro Baranovsky of Ukraine add to the luster of the race around the southern tip of Japan's largest lake.
Rios and Baranovsky also have personal bests under 2:08, while Osaki has the top time among the Japanese with the 2:08:46 he ran in 2004.
That was when he came from nowhere to finish second in Tokyo and throw a wrench into the selection process for the Athens Olympics. Citing a lack of experience, Osaki was left off the Japan squad.
Now Fujiwara finds himself in almost the exact same boat at Osaki.
Unheralded going into last month's Tokyo Marathon, Fujiwara placed second as the top Japanese with a near-identical time--2:08:40--which has become the standard that today's field will be trying to top.
With three spots available, Atsushi Sato all but clinched one by clocking 2:07:13 in finishing third last December in Fukuoka. Another berth is expected to go to 2005 world bronze medalist Tsuyoshi Ogata, the highest-finishing Japanese at the Osaka worlds in fifth.
Osaki, who finished one place back in sixth, acknowledged a sense of relief when Fujiwara emerged as the top Japanese in Tokyo.
"Four years ago I ran in Tokyo and I wasn't picked," Osaki said. "Now I have four years of experience under my belt and I don't want to lose out to Fujiwara."
Rios, who finished a disappointing 16th at the Osaka worlds, said the race will be serving his qualifier for the Spanish team to Beijing.
"As the field is very strong, that means that times will be fast and that's what I want," said Rios, who set his career-best of 2:07:42 in winning in 2004. "First is to win, and second is a personal best."

more about the Beijing Olympics at